High-energy workshop helps student veterans find path to fulfilling careers

Identifying personal strengths and brand are key to career choice

Deloitte CORE Fundamentals Workshop at ASU

Finding the “right” job can be tough for anyone, but for military veterans transitioning to civilian life, it can be daunting as they part ways from a highly structured, team-centric environment with unique values and norms not typically found with civilian employers.    

Professional services organization Deloitte, in collaboration with Arizona State University, helped address the veteran transition challenge with the energetic, hands-on CORE Fundamentals workshop held in Sun Devil Stadium April 5 and 6.

Deloitte staff led the workshops to teach student veterans, community service members and local veterans how to find the right career fit by translating their leadership skills into a business context.

“We don’t have all the answers, but we’re going to give you a playbook that will help you get there,” said Dave Grant, a Deloitte management consultant. “That’s the power of this.”

The five-hour workshop is not about resume writing or job interview attire. The intent is to get participants to understand their individual strengths, target career opportunities based on their personal brand, network and efficiently communicate their story to potential employers.

“The beauty of this is that it causes you to one, pause, stop in your tracks and learn about yourself,” said Kevin Whirity, Deloitte military and veteran acquisition lead and workshop instructor. “You will use this content that you walk away with, time and time again.”

Citing Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman’s book “First, Break all the Rules,” Whirity pointed out that according to a Gallup poll referenced in the book, the majority of people in “corporate America” are miserable in their jobs. They are not in positions that make them feel energized and strong.

“Eighty-three percent of folks (are) waking up, not energized, cringing of what’s going to be in the inbox and having to execute tasks that do not energize or play to their strengths,” Whirity said.

By the end of the workshop, participants should be able to better understand their strengths, formulate their brand and be ready communicate it concisely in any environment. Because opportunities can arise anywhere, Whirity pointed out.    

“Think about those moments in your life, think about those stories where opportunity and preparedness meet,” he said.  

ASU student veteran Michael Armendariz attended the workshop after learning about it through the Veterans Scholar Program — a Pat Tillman Veterans Center and Public Service Academy collaboration to promote professional development and public service. The Marine veteran majoring in secondary education with the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College sees the Deloitte workshop as an opportunity to help him get into the path to achieve his career goals. He recommends it highly to other veterans.

“Take the step forward to do it,” Armendariz said. “Dedicate your time to become better.”

The CORE Fundamentals workshop stemmed from the White House Joining Forces initiative, a program launched by former First Lady Michelle Obama in 2011 to open education and employment opportunities for veterans and their families.

Although the workshop was not a recruiting event, Deloitte announced in November an expanded relationship with ASU that includes “full-time internships, learning opportunities, and direct pathways for students in various disciplines to work alongside Deloitte professionals with industry-leading experience in innovative and emerging technologies.”

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